Healthy food choices are important in order to achieve your weight loss goals.
But as nutritionist Leanne Ward has pointed out, it’s not easy to make informed choices when it comes to the calories in so-called healthy and unhealthy foods.
In fact, she states that a chocolate bar often has less calories than a small handful of raw nuts.
Ward, a nutritionist and sports dietitian based in Australia, made the claims in a photo and post on her popular Instagram page, The Fitness Dietitian.
She displayed her point by posting a photo of a small bowl of almonds, a relatively healthy snack, next to a Twix chocolate bar.
She headlined it ‘caution with portions’ and listed the calorie content underneath each snack. Surprisingly, the almonds came to 415 calories while the chocolate bar was just 275 calories.
The caption read: “So many of my clients can’t understand why they can’t meet their weight loss goals despite #cleaneating or eating #healthyfood but this picture demonstrates that even healthy foods can be over eaten.”
Nuts are good for us for us because they can help lower cholesterol, leading to better heart health. They also fill us up because they’re packed with protein, as well as important vitamins and minerals.
A two-fingered Twix bar has around 275 calories, but is laden with sugar – a whopping 24g – and 12g of fats, of which 7g is saturated fats, according to stats on My Fitness Pal.
Almonds, on the other hand, have more calories – around 410 for a small handful – but are full of ‘good’ fats, and have no dangerous saturated fats.
According to Ward, if you’re wanting to lose weight, you should eat nuts sparingly.
“You can still overeat healthy foods – let me say this again… you can still overeat healthy foods! A cup of almonds, four bananas or a few homemade bliss balls will still make you gain weight if eaten in excess of your body’s daily requirements,” she warned.
“If you’re trying to lose weight, I recommend weighing or measuring your portions for a day or two to see how much you may ‘overestimate’ your portions without even realising.
“Remember: things like nuts, nut butter, seeds, avocado and salmon are very healthy foods but also quite energy dense, ie. high in (good) calories. If weight loss is your goal, watch your portions of energy dense foods,” the nutritionist advised.
Despite the warning, she said people should not eliminate foods like nuts from their diets altogether. “Of course include them regularly in your diet, don’t just eat them mindlessly – recognise what a portion size is and stick to that.
“You can still enjoy all your favourite things as part of a healthy lifestyle but understanding quantities and portion sizes can help you achieve your goals.”
The dietician’s followers on Instagram were quick to offer their thanks for the post. “I totally did this with cashews last night. So true though, and I think nuts/nut butters are probably the easiest things to accidentally overeat,” one wrote.
“This is sooooooo me. I see people counting six almonds and here I am eating 60!!!!!” another said.
One fan posted: “So important! This was one of the major things I have adjusted since January to better reach my health goals. Nuts and seeds are so easy to mindlessly snack on (for me anyways).”
A fourth wrote: “Totally guilty of this. Once I rethought my portions, I felt much better. Thank you for the reminder.”